Two seniors at Bordentown Regional High School have essentially “made school history” by becoming the first students to earn superior medals at the New Jersey State Thespian Festival.
Ryan Kaufman and Olivia McGlone, who are part of the school’s Thespian Society Troupe 6803, were honored in the acting duet category for their performance together in a scene from the play “What We Talk About When We Talk About Planned Parenthood.”
Stacie Morano, who has been an integral part of the Bordentown Regional High School Performing Arts Department for 15 years and director of Troupe 6803 for 13 years, brought nine of her students to the festival that was held from Jan. 7-8 at Robbinsville High School.
She said she was very proud to see her students be honored among the best around the state and she hopes it will inspire more Bordentown kids to participate in the high school’s theatre department going forward.
“It is definitely great for the program to have our students honored for what they do at this event,” Morano said. “They (Ryan and Olivia) scored 19.5 on a rubric of 20, which is amazing. It was incredible to see them be chosen from the many different acts that went on.”
The scene Kaufman and McGlone performed was one of only four scenes chosen from over the 600 acts performed at the festival to be showcased during the event’s closing ceremony.
The moment was a special one for the two seniors, who have been friends since middle school. Kaufman credits McGlone as one of his biggest supporters for encouraging him to get into acting and theatre when he entered high school.
“It feels like all the hard work in high school has paid off,” Kaufman said about receiving the award. “Olivia and I are very passionate about acting. We both have put in a lot of hard work into it. It was a great moment for us.”
The scene that Kaufman and McGlone performed together revolved around a couple battling the issues of addiction and deciding what the best course of action should be regarding an unexpected pregnancy.
It was a more “mature” scene then both Kaufman and McGlone were used to performing on stage.
Morano said she felt both students handled the difficult scene very “gracefully” and that their performances showed how far they’ve come as performers.
“These two kids came in as freshmen and have grown into very confident performers as seniors,” she said. “My heart was beating with pride when they performed and tackled that scene so gracefully in front of everyone.”
McGlone added that doing the scene really stuck with both her and Kaufman, saying it showed them another perspective on the issues of addiction and pregnancy.
“It’s a very powerful scene. It took a lot of understanding to put myself in my character’s shoes to act out the role,” McGlone said.
Jo Russo, Aidan Bramley, Sika Brenya, Anna Madden, Defnenur Gumus, Sal Carr and Ray Hollopeter rounded out the rest of the Troupe 6803 members that represented Bordentown at the festival.
The New Jersey State Thespian Festival welcomes high school students from around the state to participate in theatre workshops that involve all aspects of performing in acting, singing and dancing.
Morano and her students involved with the Bordentown theatre club are currently preparing for their musical representation of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” that will be showcased at the school from Feb. 24-25.
For tickets to the show, visit www.seatyourself.biz/brhs.